Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, artist, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, botanist and writer. Leonardo da Vinci was born in 1452 to a wealthy notary, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant woman Caterina, in the Tuscan hill town of Vinci in Florence. He is considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time. The Mona Lisa is the most famous and most parodied portrait from Leonardo da Vinci. The Last Supper is the most reproduced religious painting of all time. Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also regarded as a cultural icon.

He was a vegetarian and often purchased caged birds just to release them. Leonardo da Vinci was also an inventor and conceptualized a tank, concentrated solar power, a calculator and outlined a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics. Few of his designs were constructed during his lifetime but some of his smaller inventions, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire, were created.

Leonardo da Vinci’s journals include a vast number of inventions, both practical and impractical. They include musical instruments, reversible crank mechanisms, finned mortar shells, hydraulic pumps, and a steam cannon. In 1502, Leonardo da Vinci produced a drawing of a single span 220m bridge as part of a civil engineering project, but Beyazid believed that such a construction was impossible. In 2001 a smaller bridge based on his design was constructed in Norway and in 2006 the Turkish government decided to construct Leonardo’s bridge to span the Golden Horn.

He also produced many studies of the flight of birds as well as plans for several flying machines, including a light hang glider and a helicopter. In 2003 a British television station built and tested Leonardo da Vinci’s machine designs according to his original sketches with some of them actually being successful.

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